General Track

Where did you live before coming to UW and/or where are you from originally?

Born, raised, and remotely learning from Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). Before being back home, I lived in Southern California to do my undergrad at Cal State Northridge.

What is your background in public health/global health?

I studied Kinesiology intending to work at my local NCD bureau to address the high rates of diabetes. However, when I returned home, I was offered a job in a new grant to tackle a resurfacing infectious disease in the Pacific – Zika. Once the grant ended, I transitioned into researching, writing, and advocating for health policies at an organizational and a state level. Because it was an election season, tons of legislation was proposed for health, and a “face” was needed to confront it all. I then became the Public Information Officer where my most significant undertaking became running the communications in our emergency/recovery response to a devastating natural disaster, Super Typhoon Yutu. 

Why did you choose to get your MPH in global health at the UW?

I decided on global health for a number of reasons. First, you need to be multi-faceted when serving small communities. One day I’d be working on local legislation for expedited partner therapy and the next I was working to mitigate disease outbreaks post-typhoon. Second, I know that I want to grow into serving the Pacific region. As a Pacific Islander, it’s important that we community representation in this large organizations that work with us. After deciding that, I was eager to go to UW. I was excited about the classes they offered, the implementation of common core. UW is one of the best schools of public health in the nation, and I wanted that strong foundation to give back to my community in the best way I can.

What has the cohort experience been like for you (so far)?

I absolutely love the diversity in our cohort. The wealth of knowledge and experience that my classmates have to offer enriches what we’re learning. I’ve learned so much through them about being an amazing healthcare provider and about the world at large. The teaching team (who I consider a part of the cohort) has been so amazing as we adjust to life virtually. I am very grateful for their compassion and kindness during these unsettling times.

What do you enjoy most about Seattle?

Due to the pandemic, I haven’t moved yet, but I visited a few times and one of my favorite things was always being able to see the water. Growing up on an island, that’s a luxury that I’m used to and it really makes me feel at home.

What advice do you have for students who are applying for the program?

Do it! I applied to UW twice; the first time I was fresh out of college with minimal work experience. I didn’t get in then and that ended up being for the best. My 1 gap year turned into 4, and I’ve experienced some incredible things both professionally and personally. The extra time at home gave me a more in-depth perspective of what is needed, and my MPH focus evolved from the community to global. In both application cycles, I almost didn’t apply to UW because I thought, “there’s no way I’ll get in!” I’m glad I didn’t let those thoughts stop me and instead remembered that as much as UW has to offer me, I have something equally valuable to give back.